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Curtis Strange

Curtis Strange, 34, became the sixth man to win consecutive Open Championships and the first in 38 years, scoring 278 at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York and winning by one stroke over Mark McCumber, Chip Beck, and Ian Woosnam, a Welshman playing in his first U.S. Open. By winning two successive championships, Strange followed Willie Anderson (1903-04-05), John McDermott (1911-12), Bob Jones (1929-30), Ralph Guldahl (1937-38) and Ben Hogan (1950-51).

Rochester had been hit by heavy rains throughout the spring and a heavy downpour Friday night threatened to postpone the third round, but through superb work by the Oak Hill grounds crew, and with help from the fire department of the town of Pittsford which sent a high-capacity pumper to help drain a flooded fairway, the round was completed on schedule. Strange shot 71 in the first round and stood five strokes behind the leaders. Bernhard Langer, Payne Stewart and Jay Don Blake shot 66. On a day of low scoring, 21 broke par 70.

Although Oak Hill played harder in the second round with only 15 men breaking par, the round began with four men scoring holes in one within an hour and a half. Doug Weaver, Mark Wiebe, Jerry Pate an Nick Price each holed 7-iron tee shots Ion the sixth, a par 3 of 167 yards. Strange shot 64 and with 135 for 36 holes led Tom Kite by one stroke. Kite shot 69. The rain fell so heavily the night after the second round that Oak Hill was flooded and unplayable the following morning.

In order to complete the third round, the field was split in two, with the lower scorers playing in threes from the first tee, and the higher scorers from the 10th. With three bogeys and no birdies, Strange shot 73 and fell into third place, three strokes behind Kite, with another 69, and two behind Scott Simpson.

When Kite birdied the third hole of the fourth round, he suddenly shot three strokes ahead of the field, but then he drove into a creek on the fifth hole, made 7 on a par 4, and fell from the lead. He finished with a 78, and dropped into ninth place. Playing steady par golf, Strange moved into the lead after the 10th. He parred the first 15 holes, and made his first birdie in 35 holes on the 16th, opening his lead to two strokes over McCumber, Beck and Woosnam. With a three-putt for bogey on the 18th, Strange scored 70 in the fourth round and still won by a stroke.


Starts - 22

Best Finish - Winner 1988 & '89

Rds - 75

Cuts Made - 15

Top 3 - 3

Top 5 - 5

Top 10 - 5

Top 25 - 10

Avg. - 72.45

Scores In 60s - 14

Rds Under Par - 20

Earnings - $609,185.75
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T2DAY, J.+1F+3
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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.